When God creates Adam, he says man and woman are made in His image. They are children of God and sub-creators. They are commanded to have dominion and multiply.
And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Gen 1:28
Adam’s first task is naming the animals and tending the Garden. Adam and Eve later start a family and begin filling the earth. This command from God is called His creation mandate.
From a Neo-Calvinist perspective, this text is crucial in understanding our responsibility even in our current fallen world to engage in culture making. This wasn’t a one time command. It didn’t stop when Adam and Eve sinned. It’s something that we should still be doing--with one caveat.
The difference between now and then is Jesus. He arrived incarnate and shook everything up with His life, death, resurrection, ascension, and enthronement. He inaugurated the new creation. In the midst of doing this, he gives Christians a gospel mandate.
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matt. 28:18-20
He starts by establishing his credentials. “All authority is mine” (cf. Ps. 2). He can say this because God has justified his claims as Messiah by raising Him from the dead. He has been revealed as the fulfillment of Israel’s story. Contrasted with have dominion and multiply (physically), he also commands us to make disciples and multiply by baptizing and teaching. We are spreading throughout all the earth the gospel through proclamation.
This gospel mandate is an intensification of the culture mandate by a million fold. At its center is Jesus. At its center is His kingdom. At its center, He is sitting at the right hand of the Father. A human ruling from heaven. Flesh and blood. He’s now putting all things under His feet and he will finish the job upon His second return. Brothers and sisters, go out boldly on mission subduing hearts, have dominion over the kingdom of darkness, and baptizing all nations for God’s glory in the name of Jesus. For those standing in His way, warn them to kiss the Son before the end draws near.
Mathew Sims is the author of A Household Gospel Fulfilling the Great Commission in Our Homes and also writes for CBMW Men’s blog, Gospel Centered Discipleship, and Servants of Grace. He also works as the managing editor at Gospel Centered Discipleship. They attend Downtown Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Greenville, SC.